NHS referred to Slimming World

In my area we have an NHS wellbeing service that now covers weight loss. I referred myself in Jan, had appt beginning of Feb and just got email through referring me to Slimming World for 12wk free. Any experience of slimming world here? I'm clueless and online it looks like there's loads of different types of plans. I don't want a crash/fad diet. I want to loose weight healthily by changing lifestyle habits and keeping it off. I do tend to plough all my energy into something for 2-4wks then fall off the wagon! But I know SW has helped a lot of people. Any advice or thoughts welcome. Thank you!


Featured Content

Join the NHS Weight Loss Plan

Join over 40,000 others on our 12-week diet and exercise plan. Keep motivated to develop healthier eating habits & get more active.

Get Started!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

30 Replies

  • Hi loosingit2017 i tried slimming world a few years ago, didn't get on with it but I think that was possibly due to the leader as I know a lot of people love it and have done very well. It may have changed in the meantime but from what I remember it was pretty high carb and your other post said youd ordered a book which was low gi so the two approaches may not mix. If your GP has referred you though I imagine the first 12 weeks are free, so nothing's stopping you from trying it to see if it works for you, good luck 👍

  • Acutually now I think about it, it might have been high carb because I am a vegetarian, if you eat meat that plan might be different. Sorry I'm waffling, you probably need advice from someone who has done SW recently!

  • I've tried it. But couldn't get on with it. You defo need a love of salad and veg which unfortunately I do not have. I'm a weight watcher referred by the docs. Just got my 3rd and final pack. Lost 2 of my 3 stone with them. I don't think it's a fad thing by any means. I will be sticking to the same sort of foods if I can no longer continue with ww. Calorie counting works just the same just need to change your habits over time. One baby step at a time. You can do it x x

  • I could choose WW or SW (and can choose one after the other but only first 12wk of each free). What are the differences? Thanks

  • Main difference is having to put away the veg and salad. I'm really not a fan but if you are sw will probably suit you. Ww I find much better. Stick to your points and eat whatever you like within that. They also do a no count plan which is much like sw x x

  • SW has its roots in 'food combining'. I think NHS Choices said there was no evidence for it being necessary to keep carbs and proteins apart, and that any benefit comes from calorie reduction (which there is a SW plan for too).

    It irks me that scarce public money can be paid for use of such private enterprise when there are better, free/pre-paid alternatives available such as the 12 week plan or Health Trainers (and I'm not in any way meaning to be critical of you loosingit2017; of course you should try it given the opportunity).

  • It annoys me too. I went to docs to monitor my weight and got sent to ww without being asked. Apparently they don't offer any other weight management help via docs.

  • Yes, GPs manage their own budgets. They have to complete service level agreements to keep NHS contracts, but effectively that side of the NHS has been privatised.

  • Seems silly to me. All I wanted was to check in with my weight etc after being sent to them from the doctor I was stunned. I was already controlling my diet and had lost my first stone before they even got me in now then it was off to ww with me lol

  • I have done SW and lost weight with it it does work. However i have recently gone back and it isn't working for me I am not doing anything differently to the other times I have been. I think portion control is a must when doing it even tho SW pride themselves in saying u can eat as much of the free food as u like. Good luck as it's ur first time u will probably do great xx I'm here as I need to control my intake more xx

  • Hi, my sister in law lost approx 3 stones last year on SW, she loves the diet, didn't feel at all hungry and looks fantastic.

    She did put on weight over the school holidays when she didn't attend classes, but once the school term restarted she went back to class and intends to keep gong even though she's at goal weight, to keep it off.

    Seeing her achieve has encouraged me, I too have set myself the challenge of losing weight and getting fit, I'm doing alright so far, just under a stone lost since early Jan and following the c25k running app.

    Good luck to you on your lifestyle change, don't forget, progress no matter how slow is still progress.

  • In my experience it entirely depends on the leader and the other group members. So I'd say go and see what they're like! The food plan just comes down to eating sensibly when you look at it properly.

    But if we were eating sensibly already we probably wouldn't be using Google this site.😯

  • Thanks for the replies. If I can loose weight long term it'll be good for Health and a guess the NHS then predict that'll save them money. I'm just willing to try something that helps.

  • Just a note. My sister says on Slimming World you can eat unlimited pasta and potatoes ? Not sure if this is correct but if it is it doesn't seem to be the right way to retrain good eating habits. WW has been around for decades - if it worked why do so many people return again and again.

    I wish you well on your journey and hope you find your new healthy lifestyle brings huge rewards, sounds like you are determined and now with support you'll do this :) x

  • Hm, unlimited is what they say, but considering that 1/3 to 1/2 of your plate is made up of veg, and you can have protein (i.e. meat, fish or pulses,...) there's only so much potatoes or pasta you could eat on top of that 😊

  • I've done slimming world. I lost 2stone but then it stopped working.

    It's a really good plan but does not teach you portion control. But if you've never tried it, give it a go, as it does work. I've moved on to calorie counting as I was eating huge unnecessary portions and my weight loss stopped.

    If it's free and it's only 12 weeks, there is no harm in giving it a go and keeping an open mind :) :) and if it doesn't work, you will find another way.

    It DOES tell you that you can eat "as much as you need to" of "free" foods. These include pasta and potatoes. I lost weight regardless of this but as I said, it stopped working for me eventually but this could have been because I got bored of it. Others I know have carried on losing.

    I haven't gained any of that weight back. Which I guess is good compared to the experience of some people :) I feel slimming world gives you a good basis for healthy eating - limiting sugary/fatty foods and increasing cooking everything from scratch. And this has now helped me moving forward and now i will always cook from scratch where possible.

    I hope it goes well for you if you give it a go! :)

  • I have used slimming world in the past and had good success. You pick your own target weight, the plans do not involve COUNTING, which for me is a big plus since I have bad memories of calorie counting and if I don't watch it, I get angry and rebellious. (Weight watches has a counting system too, which is one reason I did not choose it.) You do have to keep a food diary for your first few weeks in SW. This is to help you be realistic about what you eat and also to learn the SW systems ( which are easy after a few weeks). The SW programme weekly group meetings are an essential part of the programme. You need this esp. in early days to keep clear about what you, why you do it, and get constantly updated on what branded products are new and how they fit into the programme. (Another reason I chose SW over WW was that SW does not try to sell you their own products, encourage learning to cook-- although I see ICELAND now carries some SW products. The first time I went, I lost 2 st and kept it off, without staying in the SW programme, for 5 years. Then it crept back. I went again and lost 1.5 stone but couldn't budge the rest. I now believe it was because of portion control. I stopped because I "settled" for 1.5 stone and because I didn't want to take time out of my life to go to weekly meetings. Hope that helps.

  • I've just started SW & am actually finding it hard to eat as much as I should after years of telling myself the only way to lose weight is to eat less! Less rubbish, yes, but not less food! You'd find that SW has the same basic premises as WW in that you can choose what you eat - you get a number of "Syns" ( an unfortunate term, since there's no suggestion that any food is sinful!) to use every day, as opposed to "Points" but the principle is the same - and as stated, if you like salad, veg and protein you're fine because you can eat as much of that as you want. Fats (including dairy) and carbs are more limited but they no longer use the Green and Red days system, and the days when you couldn't have a chicken sandwich because of food combining are gone. You can basically eat what you want as long as you count the Syns and don't go over your limit, and the basics are not included in that. If you like cooking they have excellent recipes on their website - I would have a look at it, it gives you a 7-day menu which will give you an idea of what you can eat. I like cooking and I prefer fresh food so I think SW is going to suit me. It's true that there aren't limits put on portions but really, how much can anyone eat? If you're someone who can't control your portion sizes or eats pasta until you're physically sick then you've got a bigger problem than just weighing a few extra pounds, haven't you..?

  • Thanks. That's a really helpful run down. I was just saying below, the 'eat as much as u like' freedom is a bit odd but maybe it does help psychologically with not feeling restricted? I'm not sure. If I ate as much pasta, bread, etc I'm sure I'd bloat up. I'm also considering reducing gluten for asthma & migraine too. So avoiding white starches and refined wheat seem to go hand in hand with that. Sugar and wheat ie probably more of the problem though ie cakes, biscuits, chocolate etc. Although I've always craved salty snacks like crisps, pretzels etc.

  • But surely you'd only eat too much once? That bloated feeling is awful, I know, so next time you'd have less and thus eventually find your happy medium - satisfied but not stuffed. I personally think that's the SW principle - and you'd do yourself no favours shovelling in food just because you can, our bodies are not meant to cope with that sort of excess. Plus, we're fortunate in that these days there are alternatives available to refined flour and it all has Syn or Points values so there's shed loads of choice, whichever system you choose.

  • Thank you. Yes. I'm a bit stupid though! 😉

  • I started my weight loss with SW, now a target member and go along occasionally. The basic principles are fairly sensible, group sessions motivational (my leader very good). I never had big portions of processed carbs, also didn't save syns up for evening treats of chocolate, crisps etc which you could do, but being smaller and older I knew I wouldn't lose my weight if I did that. The plan is for everyone, big, small, tall, short, male/ female , so you have to adapt it for yourself which is not talked about, or your weight loss will obviously be affected. I stuck to the better side of the plan, cooking from scratch, plenty of veg, pulses, fruit. I still only have whole grain processed carbs , less than I had before weight lost and keep away from sugary things in general. SW does not actually seem to steer you away from sweet things, maybe the advice will change in time.

    Best of luck anyway, will be interested to see how you get on loosingit2017 .

  • Thank you. Just spoke to someone about it at SW on the phone. She said 'you can have as much as you want of processed carbs...or as little as you want, there's no weighing, calorie counting etc'. It seems a little odd approach to weight loss? I'm gonna give it a go but think I need to be disciplined and make my own boundaries rather than the relaxed approach. What do u think?

  • That's what I did, but up to you really. I also started counting calories too for the last stone as found the rather relaxed approach of SW stopped working, but I'm only 5ft2 so ideal BMI less than most people. Learn as much from SW and about healthy eating in general and you will succeed with a big dose of determination!

  • I'm only 5ft3, and currently in the 12-13stone range so BMI stupidly high.

  • I joined slimming world 6 weeks ago and have lost 11.5 lbs- with out going hungry! Its really good sensible eating- 2 "healthy extras" daily- i have porridge and milk, the as much fruit, veg, pasta, potatos, rice, lean meat and fish as you want. Then can have between 5-15 syns daily. Its not a fad diet- it works. Give it a try. Good luck

  • Thank you!! What's your advice/thoughts on portion control & carbs?

  • Sorry didnt get back to you sooner. Regarding carbs and portion control i would say although SW say you can have unlimited rice, pasta and potatos i cant quite believe it and so try to have just i large/medium portion daily. I also find being over 50 makes it harder to shift the weight. Good luck with your journey. You can do it. X

  • I started SW in January 2015 and was very cynical about the 'unlimited' claims. Now here I am 8 stone lighter! Give it a go. It's not a fad diet and trains you to choose 'speed' food first (most fruit & veg & should be 1/3 of each meal), then 'free' food (pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meats, fish, pulses etc). You get what they call a healthy A & B choice each day. The A is dairy so includes your milk & cheese. The B is bread, cereals, nuts & dried fruit. You also have between 5 & 15 syns a day (1 syn is roughly equal to 20 calories). I use them for things to make meals more 'normal' so salad dressings, gravy, sauces etc and for treats like chocolate & wine to stop me feeling deprived. It takes a while to get your head around the rules but when you do it becomes a way of life. They encourage cooking from scratch and have loads of cookery books in class and recipes online. You can also eat processed and ready meals and membership gets you access to an app to look up the syn value of things. You just make different choices. For example, a Richmond sausage is 5 syns but a Porky Lights sausage is only 1/2 a syn & blooming gorgeous! I hope you choose to take up the 12 week membership. I admit it doesn't suit everyone but if you're like me & hate weighing & measuring everything (you only need to do that for the healthy A & B choices), it could work for you too.

  • I believe that any plan is worth a go, there are so many out there. We are all different in our lifestyles, bodies and minds and finding the right one to suit us personally can be difficult.

    I myself never opted for SW as to me I would easily be over eat each day with what is allowed. It doesn't teach you the relation between calories and food and that is such an important part of understanding healthy eating and how your body uses the food you put in, this is just from research and friends at SW.

    Good Luck with it all

    Make sure you come back to chat, there are so many wonderful people on the forums who are ready and willing to help you achieve your goals.

You may also like...